What Every Filipino Should Know About Pediatric Glaucoma
Pediatric glaucoma is a rare, but serious childhood eye disease associated with elevated intraocular pressure that can lead to vision loss. Globally, it accounts for 5% of all cases of blindness in children, with similar estimates in the Philippines.
II. Causes of Pediatric Glaucoma
Pediatric glaucoma often occurs due to genetic factors. However, other causes can include birth defects, eye infection or injury, inflammation, or tumors. It’s important to note that it’s not caused by factors like reading in low light or prolonged screen time, contrary to common myths.
III. Recognizing the Symptoms
Early detection is key to managing pediatric glaucoma. Symptoms parents should be aware of include squinting, sensitivity to light, excessive tearing, a cloudy appearance or a white color in the eye, an unusually large eye (as the infant’s eye enlarges due to pressure), and vision loss. These symptoms especially occur in combination or worsen over time.
IV. Diagnosing Pediatric Glaucoma
Diagnosing pediatric glaucoma involves comprehensive eye exams. These may include testing the eye’s drainage angle, pressure, and visual field. Regular eye check-ups are essential for early diagnosis and better treatment outcomes.
V. Treatment Options for Pediatric Glaucoma
Treatment can vary depending on the severity of the disease, but it typically involves controlling the eye pressure. This can be achieved through medical management with eye drops or oral medications. In more severe cases, laser treatments or surgery may be required.
VI. Impact of Pediatric Glaucoma on a Child’s Life
The impact of pediatric glaucoma extends beyond physical health. It may affect the child’s performance in school or their ability to participate in normal childhood activities.
VII. Coping with Pediatric Glaucoma: Tips for Parents
It’s essential for parents to keep open communication with their child’s healthcare team. Understanding the condition fully, following therapeutic recommendations, and regularly monitoring the child’s vision at home are important steps to ensure the best health outcomes. Emotional and psychological support for the child is also key, as living with a chronic condition can be emotionally stressful.
Regular eye check-ups and early detection are vital in managing pediatric glaucoma effectively. Parents should consult healthcare professionals promptly if any unusual eye symptoms are observed in their children.